Over a lifetime, Black Americans earn up to $1 million less than white Americans, according to a 2019 study. Slavery, redlining, Jim Crow laws, and racial discrimination in hiring have all contributed to the racial wealth gap. But it doesn’t have to be permanent.
So, how wide is the racial wealth gap?
Too wide. The Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances found that the median wealth for a white family was $188,200. For Hispanic families, it was $36,100. Major difference. For Black families, it was $24,100.And the COVID-19 pandemic only made things worse.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic play into the racial wealth gap?
It disrupted our daily lives and livelihood. And many families didn't have the emergency funds to survive the economic impact.
According to a 2020 Pew Research survey, 73% of Black families said they did not have enough saved to cover three months of living expenses. For white families, that number dropped to 47%.
And though unemployment rates were up for everyone, regardless of race, Black families endured the most job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And is there anything I can do about it?
Support initiatives at the community, state, and federal levels that will help provide parity and close the racial wealth gap.
Shop Black-owned businesses and spread the word.
Here are a few of our faves.
Be transparent about your salary.
Especially if you're not a person of color. Pay secrecy is one way the racial wealth gap is maintained. And talking with your coworkers about salary can help to make sure everyone in your office is being paid equally.
Negotiate your salary.
Especially if you're a person of color. Income disparity is still a major contributor to the wealth gap. There are a lot of ways this is out of your control. But make sure that you're fighting for your worth when you have the opportunity. Here are some tips for how to ask for more money.
The racial wealth gap will only be closed if we do something about it. So do what you can to change it and support initiatives that will have an impact. Because it's on us to close it.
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